This blog has been seperated in two ways, giving you the option to either look through the posts in relation to the learning objectives that they relate to, or to look through the different stages throughout our production and look at the research as a whole instead of per LO.

This does mean that some posts appear in multiple categories so for reference there are 53 posts for you to look through.

Overall I think the project ended up a lot better than I was expecting it to, there were a lot of problems that seemed a lot worse than they actually were, and this was mainly due to either our group not understanding the industry workflow process full, which I think is forgivable considering this is the first opportunity I’ve had to actually work from start to finish on a film, or due to miscommunication between our group which towards the end Callum and myself actively sought to rectify, from about week 6-7 of this semester we realised that messages were being misunderstood through written forms of communication so we decided that anything important that needed discussing would be done so in person, and if any problems did arise we sought to rectify these problems in person so as not to cause further misunderstanding.

I feel like I hit all of my learning objectives, although some better than others, I did manage to improve my location sound skills greatly and this is proven by testimonials from the actors and from the media team, who have commented saying that we were professional and always ready to work. This also relates to my third learning objective aswell as the research undertaken to make sure that the techniques I was using were correct and the best way to do things. Through this I have learnt tricks for taping mics to actors, how to stand and aim with the boom pole, as well as how to judge the camera’s picture line. These are all techniques that I only had a vague understanding of from sitting in lectures before.

I feel that although I was able to recreate the soundscape enough with foley, that if I had more time I would have tried to make certain sounds sit slightly better, I would also have liked to experiment more with layering some of the sounds, we did add a few layers to the louder slamming sounds, but I feel like there’s more we could have done while the actors were eating, and we could have added more creaking for things like doors but we ended up running out of time for adding extra sounds in.

Overall our biggest downfall for this project was the lack of communication between the sound crew and the film crew, this caused problems out of nothing and also caused misunderstandings about the intentions of certain aspects of the film. In the future if I was to do this kind of project again I would make sure that all of the communication would be done verbally, as in person it is a lot harder to misinterpret what people are trying to say.

The main strengths of this project would be the location recording. Because of the amount of research and practise Callum and I put into improving the smaller techniques, we were able to eliminate problems before we recorded rather than trying to clean up a bad recording with plugins, we were able to reduce clip mic rustling massively, and we were also able to salvage scenes that the film crew wanted to use even when the audio was unfixable because we were vigilant with recording onset ADR. I would also say that because Callum and myself have a strong working relationship already we were able to get through certain processes quickly, such as while filming we were able to communicate silently, and we both trusted that each person knew what they were doing, so we were able to streamline any small decision making, which made the filming process a lot quicker and easier.

The biggest weakness of this project was the communication errors, when things went wrong it would usually start with someone being misunderstood over written communication, but was always solved easily in person. In certain cases this actually delayed the proceedings of the project, because people were busy trying to fix problems that either didn’t exist or would have been easier for us all to sit down together for us to sort. Another weakness, more personally to me was the writing of the music itself. While it fits the film well, if I had more time I would have liked to have spent it on refining the music a bit, tweaking some of the melodies so it’s less monotonous and mixing the music better.

The opportunities this project has presented come in two sections, firstly we were able to build up a good professional relationship with two professional actors, which could open some fresh avenues for getting work in the future. The actors are both from London and are active within the circuit there, Callum has even offered up accommodation for us if we ever got the opportunity to go for work down there. Another opportunity comes from my own confidence. Now that I have actually been able to work on set once I am a lot less concerned about doing location sound in the future, before this project everything I had learnt about sound for film had taken place in a class room, whereas this project has given me the practise of being on set without support and being relied upon by other people within the industry. This was a good midpoint between a paid job and a classroom project that has given me the insight and practise to be confident enough to take on more similar jobs in the future.

The biggest threat to our side of the project specifically would be the quality of the listening device. We got stung by this once during this project and it was actually an important aspect that we had overlooked. Although there were extenuating circumstances with the speakers that we had problems with, it did make me realise that we hadn’t tested our mix through many other devices other than our personal monitoring speakers and the Sound Theatre system. So after the issues we described in other posts I decided to listen to our final mix through a normal television and it did turn out to sound fine, but that would have been a big setback due to the oversight on our part.

A more thorough evaluation of each LO will be found with each Learning Objective category.

This blog highlights the importance of maintaining a distance from the microphone to give the recording a sense of space but also to reduce the risk of hearing breathing through the recording. I made sure to do this while recording foley because in my opinion slight distance between the mic and the sound gives the recording a more natural and so easier to mix feel.

The very first answer in this interview relates directly to some of the foley that we did, for the dinner scene we bought some saucy pasta and recorded the cutlery sounds using that so that we could get the authentic splashes and squelches from the pasta into the film, we did try for reference what it would sound like on an empty plate and this interview is correct, you can hear the difference massively, the cutlery sounds tinny, and there is a lot more clattering sounds coming from the plate itself without the padding of the food to dampen it.

This final post helped me to get into the right mindset to act out foley. The importance of foley is that you are trying to control the soundscape, so in a way this relates to boom operation aswell. While I was operating the boom mic I was trying to get clear dialogue while avoiding excessive background noise, whereas in foley I am trying to reconstruct all of the noise that I was trying to avoid during filming, except by doing it this was we are able to have better control over the volume and characteristics of each and every sound in the film, giving us the opportunity to create a fuller soundscape with a range of depth and clarity.

When it came to editing the foley our job was quite easy, because almost all of the sounds happened in the centre of the screen and needed to be low down in the mix because they weren’t important focal points in the film, such as miscellaneous cutlery sounds and other little sounds like that.

We did have a little bit of trouble though with finding the perfect level for some of the more important sounds, such as the car engine, the door slamming, and the gunshot sound. This is because I personally found it hard to gauge how much louder and more prominent these sounds should have been without having the atmos and dialogue tracks present as well to relate them to.

This meant that I had to go back three or four times purely to raise and lower certain foley sounds to find the right balance. This also had an effect on our LUF measurements for the broadcasting limits, because every  time we altered, the average loudness of the film would change slightly.

Once we did have the right levels though it was just a case of adding little bits of panning wherever I could to add more of a stereo feel to the film, such as an automation for the engine of the car to come across the screen, and for certain footsteps to walk off the screen in some sections.

Overall the foley mixing was one of the easier tasks of this film because there was no weird or overly creative sounds for us to attempt to recreate.

- To use foley acting to help create a realistic soundscape within a film

I was able to recreate about 90% of the sound effects that are in the film by using foley, and by using foley I was able to isolate sounds that we wanted to keep but wanted to control, such as bags being put down, which aren’t necessarily important to the main film but would still be noticed if they were missing.

Also due to the research I feel like we were able to capture the foley in the way that we wanted, rather than just recording foley because it’s what’s expected, I now understand that the foley is recorded separately so we can have better creative control within the mixing stage, which makes a lot of sense, and helped to put me in a better mindset while recording the more mundane sounds.

Again, the media team were very happy with the mix of the whole film by  the end of the mixing so I think we were able to successfully recreate the soundscape realistically.